By Shenali Waduge
It is puzzling how an unreliable political ideology, advocated by liberals and subscribed to by a handful of academics, media personnel, government officials, social theorists. lefties and politicians have managed to take the world by storm introducing a concept called MULTICULTURALISM. We question what its experimentation has actually delivered to nations in terms of national unity? We ask how these lobbyists expect to deliver integration when it is seeking to break identities and deal a slow death to historically preserved and valued cultures by establishing virtually sovereign societies within nations. We want to know what is at stake for Westphalian sovereign nations and the legality of what is taking place globally. Changing national anthems, national flags in a liberal “open” society spells dangers to all mankind unless governments take a firm grip on the situation.
It was 3 years after Independence that Sri Lanka officially adopted a national anthem on November 22, 1951 it was also translated into Tamil. Namo, Namo Matha, Apa Sri Lanka was the original first line until it was changed without the consent of the author Ananda Samarakoon in 1961. Constitutional recognition of the national anthem Sri Lanka Matha came in 1978. In 2010 December, it was decided to scrap the translation of the Sri Lanka Matha following a paper produced by the Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister.
All was forgotten until the present Minister of National languages and Social Integration comes along 3 years later – another “leftie” pulling the multicultural strings and produces yet another paper that reconciliation would be complete once the national anthem is mixed in Sinhala and Tamil.
The Government has been too accommodative of demands on the excuse of reconciliation always putting the Government on a back foot with accusations of war crimes as a ploy to swing the decision. Veiled behind this fear psychosis, opportunists are having a field day presenting all sorts of multicultural goondus in order to take Sri Lanka close to breaking up the cultural heritage it had preserved and walking into a whole new set of minefields – and only last August we had cleared the dangerous ones!
How symbolic it is to change what has been sung since 1951?
How many are “national” enough to realistically put the national flag on independence even in their homes or know to sing the national anthem?
The Minister or for that matter many other Ministers can be lobbied by the multicultural fashion-house but sanity must remain. Experimenting with something like the national anthem is nothing a single person or a handful is entitled to do. Especially when the person making the recommendation does not even have a vote bank to argue that he is backed by the people.
There is little point in bringing examples from other nations because a nation’s national anthem is nothing that has been hurriedly worded together and certainly nothing to please a set of people only or something that should be done just because another country did so.
For arguments sake take the oldest national anthem – the Dutch “Wilhelmus” which has 15 eight-line verses written between 1569 and 1578 and is made up of mysterious ancient words which everyone including children have to learn without knowing its meaning. Now The Netherlands is a nation that has its fair share of multiculturalism and has decided to say enough is enough. Yet, lobbyists have not managed to change the world’s oldest national anthem and there is no reason that Sri Lanka’s national anthem should be constitutionally changed just because Vasudeva or any other wants to change it.
“Singing the national anthem in the Tamil language, which is a recommendation of the LLRC, is a ridiculous and unpractical idea” so said Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary. So the multicultural lobbyists had made inroads into the LLRC too.
The “multicultural” hamper includes many more changes and it’s an all-out effort to reverse all that nations had fought for, generations of values that nations had proudly preserved and nations need to now stand to defend these cultures without digging their own graves. Everywhere the objective of taking the power from the majority in every sphere that it controls is subtly taking place on the guise of multiculturalism and reconciliation.
Look at neighbor India and how far its Hindi influence has been influenced and reduced by the Christian movement, look elsewhere in UK where 30 years of multiculturalism has led to the city of Birmingham not displaying Christmas messages, Santa Claus, ornaments etc on its street during Christmas lest non-Christians may get upset or where areas are now considered “zones” belonging to an immigrant community!
Back home we can but wonder if the multicultural objective in Sri Lanka is to remove all traces of Sinhala Buddhist identity and we see that taking place before our very eyes.
These changes are carefully designed – it will be the national anthem, then the national flag, we have witnessed how the subject of History was removed by Baathurdeen Mohamed, the education minister in 1972 and similar steps were again adopted during Chandrika Kumaratunga’s stint as President, then we know that the Constitution is likely to be changed, so people need to be alert to see how far Article 9 of the Constitution (foremost place to Buddhism) will be fiddled with and whether it will remain undented.
So we are up against a lot of powerful people involved in a competition to win what is “politically correct” and in so doing creating a plethora of blunders that the nation’s people will end up having to pay.
We cannot but forget how the Opposition Leader wanted to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Portuguese and the attempts made to show the presence of Christians before the arrival of the colonials.
Since multiculturalism almost always gets tagged with reconciliation there is never mention of helping to reconcile what the majority of the nation’s ancestors had suffered. So where are the proposals that should seek apology and return of Temple Lands acquired by force? How about compensation for the destruction of Buddhist temples – national reconciliation cannot omit what is due to the Buddhists while always getting the Buddhists to part with what little it has left to call its own.
The problem is that when discrepancies are brought out it almost always end up in defense mode where it has been easy to cry foul instead of providing answers.
We would like to know why they would want to promote the notion that immigrants do not require to adapt to the new culture in the host nation that they make their new home in but to continue their foreign culture even if it goes against that of the host nation? Is this not a direct blow to natural assimilation and national unity? Has this not led to the creation of micro-nations where countries in Europe and Australia are at a loss to handle little China’s, little India’s etc?
Moreover migration is not a right – the onus is on the person enjoying the “privilege” to adapt to the culture of the nation he migrates to. It is not the host nation that must adapt to the migrant’s culture.
Do countries not fear a threat to their national security as a result? Though it must be said that these nations must now be realizing how countries like Sri Lanka would have felt when these very nations were encouraging national conflicts in the homelands of their immigrants which have now become transferred to their own nations.
These multiculturalists are certainly bringing more confusion and solution. Their quest appears to be to destroy a country’s national and cultural identity and no wonder we are all confused about who exactly is a “White American”, “Black American”, “Ethnic German”, “African-American”, “Canadian-Tamil” etc.
Countries are now waking up – finally. They are beginning to realize the damage these liberals, academics and “lefties” who first started their campaign as private groups have today created shoving ideas into politics, public officials and governance and forcing “official policy”. It is as a result of these new laws enacted by self-serving politicians and officials that has created a new breed of “political correctness” and has come to nullify opposition as being racist or extremist.
In the West this trendy liberal idea has become a “migrant vote winner” for politicians which will become another menace to these Western nations on top of the national security issue.
Today these multiculturalists have managed to get their ideas “endorsed” in various policy statements even those of political parties and much of these endorsements have been based on nothing but political dishonesty using a trendy set of words and phrases.
Multiculturalism originated in the ideas of Horace Kallen published in 1915 proposing that America becomes a “commonwealth of ….nationalities”. He encouraged ethnic separatism though warned that cultural pluralism would lead to the Balkanisation of the US.
The term “multicultural” was coined in Canada in the 1960s and used by Trudeau to promote harmony amongst predominant French-Canadian and British-Canadian cultures and minority cultures. It was also in the 1960s that multiculturalism started in Australia with Prof. Jerzy Zubryzycki introducing the “cult of ethnicity”.
Today, that “cult” is haunting nations.
Professor Lauchlan Chipman has exposed multiculturalism as containing a wide spectrum; from “soft” multiculturalism (the “food and dances” justification, used so often) to the realities of “hard” multiculturalism:
“It is imperative that we realise that this is what hard multi-culturalism is about. It is not about folk dancing, interesting food, and free-flowing wine. Nor is it about experiments in living and the open-minded and sensitive quest for improved or alternative life-styles. It is not just about reinforcing the ‘nice’ or the ‘cute’ or the ‘exotic’ aspects of these cultures as perceived by widely read, widely travelled middle-class Australians. Rather, it is about the preservation of ‘ethnic integrity’, the reinforcement and imposition on the new-born of sets of traditions, beliefs, and values which include, as well as those which are noble and enlightened, some which are at least as inhuman, as grotesquely ignorant, and as racist, as sexist, and as bigoted as any that can be squeezed from even the most appalling of ockers.” Also looking at the consequences of multiculturalism, Dr. Frank Knopfelmacher warned that “It entails permanent class war with an ethnic dimension — the worst kind of class-war, and in the end, terrorism and civil war.”
There are 4 aspects to multiculturalism.
Demographic multiculturalism is about a society of people of different backgrounds being multicultural. Well in this case, there was no need for such a description; people had already been living in such “multi” societies.
Prescriptive multiculturalism is a utopian concept that advocates provisions in official language, transactions etc which is more divisive than the romanticism attached to it.
Holistic multiculturalism aspires to completely nullify the predominant culture – something which we in Sri Lanka now fear.
Political multiculturalism completely opposes integration since it holds view that a society can have “separate ethnic” groups – so where do we expect to see peaceful co-existence? Now the best part of this 4th dimension is the theory that Governments should encourage not only separate ethnic groups but that they can maintain their own institutions, have explicit funding, their own policies, own language, own news media, clubs, schools, economic institutions like shops, professional services – where is this all going?
How can a sovereign country have multiple “sovereign nations” within a nation?
These notions are perfect for idle debate but can we seriously see how practical these are and to what extent countries can maintain law and order? With one law per country can we really be proud of the peace that prevails in the nations of the world? To have a free for all governance what anarchy are we projecting?
Are we looking at a future where the multiculturalists will de-legitimize national culture, subtly burying historical links to ancient civilization, generate humans who have no moral code, no limits to how they live and governments have fallen for the trap by thinking it only “politically correct” to welcome these notions with open arms thinking that they hold the key to reconciliation.
It is not hard to see that these liberalists and lefties are creating an “industry” for them to thrive on. Countries end up footing bills for all types of multicultural programs – learning languages, new offices and staff etc
Failure of multiculturalism and how it has managed to dislocate national unity is evident in the manner nations are now rising to stop multiculturalism completely:
Just as countries like Australia, Canada, US, UK and most countries in Europe are monocultural the use of “multicultural” does not hold true. Even Sri Lanka, the same ethnicities that prevailed at post-independence remains so. Why is this sudden push for a pre-fix “multi”.
Those that expose multicultural hidden agenda are branded “extremist” and “racist” so now you know the drill.
Ironically, in the end multiculturalism will equate to mean NO CULTURE.
The Government should not commit hara kiri by digging its own grave and that of the country by falling for the multicultural googly’s.